Nokia Apologizes for Deceptive Ad About Image Stabilization

Footage isn't from a Lumia 920 at all

When advertisers get caught blurring the line between fact and fiction, the Internet can quickly and mercilessly bring their transgressions into focus.
     Case in point: Nokia has apologized for a video released Wednesday touting the optical image stabilization of its latest PureView camera—included in the upcoming Lumia 920 Windows 8 smartphone. The ad shows a woman riding a bike in footage seemingly taken by a guy riding next to her, with what the viewer assumes is a PureView camera. The clip looks pretty darn stable, but Nokia was actually on very shaky ground. Technology blog the Verge pulled an impressive Woodward and Bernstein, pointing out at roughly the 30-second mark "a curious reflection in the window of the trailer in the background. It's not a young man riding his bicycle alongside the cheerful model, but instead a big white van with a lighting rig and a cameraman standing in the doorway—with what appears to be a large camera rig. Whatever he's holding, we can reasonably agree it's not a Lumia 920." (When the blog slowed the video to make the reflection easier to see, the music—which had been cloyingly cheerful—took on a distortedly ominous, America's Most Wanted-type tone. Awesome!)
     Nokia quickly confessed on its blog: "In an effort to demonstrate the benefits of optical image stabilization (which eliminates blurry images and improves pictures shot in low light conditions), we produced a video that simulates what we will be able to deliver with OIS. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but we should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only. This was not shot with a Lumia 920. At least, not yet. We apologize for the confusion we created." Nokia's few defenders pointed out that advertising is full of deceptions anyway. ("I bet they aren't even a real couple!" says the top YouTube comment.) But that excuse probably wasn't too reassuring for a company that spends many millions every year in paid media.
     Nokia released actual PureView footage yesterday, too, as part of its apology (see that clip after the jump). And at least now it can move forward with a clearer understanding that when it comes to advertising cameras, image is, quite literally, everything.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.